Steps to Finding the Best Child Care for Your Family
Once you narrow down your options it is best to visit and ask questions before you make your final decision. Observe the space and materials. Observe the interactions between the teacher/providers and the children. The following is a checklist that can be used for each visit.
Checklist for Parents use During a Visit
(click here to print this Checklist)
- The hours of operation fit my needs.
- I can afford the fees.
- The program is licensed.
- I understand and agree to the policies and procedures this provider follows.
- The place is clean and well-maintained.
- The setting is bright, cheerful and smells okay.
- The facility is safe. (Areas are easy to supervise, hazardous cleaning materials are out of reach, electrical outlets are covered, furniture is sturdy, etc.)
- There is a plan for emergencies and first aid kits are readily available.
- There is enough space for a variety of activities (indoor/outdoor, nap, diapering, eating, etc.)
- There is a place for children’s personal belongings.
- Teaching staff has adequate training and experience with children.
- There are enough teachers to give individual attention and cover when absences/illnesses occur.
- Positive behavior management techniques are used. (Hint: Limits are consistent and gentle. Children are given choices.)
- The teacher and children seems to like each other and be happy.
- The teacher is warm, friendly and patient.
- The teacher offers appropriate physical comfort in a loving and caring way. (For example holding young children, hugs, holding hands, etc.)
- The teacher is actively involved with the children throughout the day.
- The teacher understands what is developmentally appropriate for children of different ages.
- The teacher responds quickly to children’s needs.
- There is a written daily schedule posted that shows a balanced daily routine. There are active/quiet times, indoor/outdoor times, with varied and age-appropriate activities.
- There are times children work as a group and times when they can be alone.
- The schedule can be adjusted as needed to accommodate the children’s needs and moods.
- There are enough safe, appropriate toys and equipment within reach of the children.
- Boys and girls are equally encouraged to participate in a variety of activities.
- The number of teachers with each group of children allow for personal attention to be given to each child.
- Parents can make unannounced visits at any time.
- Parents can speak with the provider when they have questions or concerns.
- There is a system of regular communication sent home to inform the parents about the child’s experiences during child care.
- Parents meet with the provider on a regular basis to discuss progress and goals.
- There are quiet individualized places for children to sleep when needed.
- Feeding and diapering routines are done in a loving, patient manner.
- Diapers are frequently checked, changed and documented.
- Diapering area is clean.
- Babies have space and freedom to play, climb and crawl.
- Teaching staff responds quickly and appropriately to crying.
- I am comfortable with the transportation arrangements to and from school.
- There is quiet space and time allowed for homework.
- There is freedom and flexibility after a structured school day.
- References from parents are available.
- I would be happy here if I were a child.
- I feel comfortable leaving my child here.